How to write up your case study

You’ve finished the project and you’ve interviewed the client about his experience. Now you need to write up the case study in a way that demonstrates how your company helped the client and how it can help your reader in the future. But what’s the best way to do that?

Case Studies – the value of social proof

Do you look at reviews before you buy a product? Have you ever queued outside a club or restaurant because the long line suggested it must be good? This is social proof at play – and you can use this to your advantage.

There’ll be many reasons your prospects want to buy from you – good product, service or price. But ultimately what convinces them to make the final decision is the reassurance that you are reliable and trustworthy. And there is no better reassurance than a peer-to-peer recommendation.

More effectively than anything else case studies can demonstrate how your product or service can help prospects achieve their goals. Having someone impartial tell their story about your business and how it has helped them, will have so much more influence on a prospect’s decision to buy, than your words alone ever could.

Social Proof is the reason why funny cat videos go viral, why we check out reviews of products before we buy something online, and why we ‘like’ on Facebook, ‘Tweet’ on Twitter and ‘pin’ on Pinterest. Social proof is the reason for the ‘first follower’ – the reason why, once one person does something or follows something, others will follow suit because it feels like a safe choice. We trust other individuals like us and are influenced by them, and we will adapt their behaviour according to what other people are doing.

‘User’ social proof is just one of many different types of social proof (including Expert, Celebrity, User, Wisdom of the Crowd and Wisdom of friends, all of which rely on others to influence us to act). User social proof is particularly beneficial for your business because it is offering positive feedback from actual users of your products.

Case studies have the effect of building trust in your business and authenticity in your brand, adding gravitas and authenticity to the story being told.

Social proof is a potent psychological motivator that businesses can utilise in order to influence potentials. Case studies capture a customer’s experience, where they can leave viewers in no doubt as to the quality of the product or service they are endorsing.

With a case study, you don’t need to blow your own horn; your happy customers will do it for you. How’s that for an endorsement!

Don’t have the time to create amazing case studies? Let me do it for you. I’ll turn your biggest success stories into case studies that attract new clients.

 

5 attributes of a good freelance copywriter

Like going out on a first date, finding a decent copywriter can be a daunting process. You want more than just a pretty face (one would hope) and you want a freelance copywriter who can do more than just produce technically precise copy.

Be more productive by being accountable

I’m very excited. I have a fantastic idea for an article, and my brain is firing on all cylinders. I can’t wait to get home to my Mac to get these ideas down. But, by the time I get home, the shine has rubbed off somewhat and the idea is not looking so fantastic. The energy has gone, and I sit to face a blank page.

Thankfully, while inspired, I told my husband all about my idea. In detail.

Now, my husband is like a dog with a particularly delectable bone – he will not LET. IT. GO. So, if I tell him I’m going to do something, he will nag me until I’ve done it and shown him the evidence. So, rather than have to deal with his pestering (and criticisms about me never seeing things through – eye roll) I push through the pain and I get that article written.

Phew.

I know from experience that if I’d have kept this fantastic idea to myself, it would never have been written – I need accountability for those jobs that I don’t see as absolutely vital.

how can accountability help you?

Can’t keep to your new year’s resolutions? You need accountability.

Can’t be bothered to go to the gym after a hard day’s work? You need accountability.

Can’t get that novel written? You need accountability.

Need to get this week’s blog written for the business? You need accountability – your business depends on it. But how can you use accountability to get that blog post done?

My aim is to get one blog post written each day, whether for my own websites or a client. But as easy as it is writing blogs for businesses, when it comes to my own, I’ll procrastinate, and cogitate and make more tea, and put the washing on…

Perhaps you’re one of those people who can hold themselves to account with your heavy-duty willpower and unassailable motivation – well lucky you, and well done for achieving all your New Year’s resolutions.

But if you’re like the rest of us, where setting a goal might get you started but is likely to fade into a dim and distant fantasy within minutes, then the support of some social accountability will give you the kick up the rump you need.

Whether you want to let the world know about it (and hold you accountable) or keep it to yourself, to get those things you have no internal motivation to do, done, it helps to be accountable to someone.

Being accountable involves being obligated to do what you say you will do, whether to yourself or others. It also means you’ll have to justify why you’ve not done it.

Inner accountability

If I have to do something, I’m less likely to do it if I don’t know the reason why I should do it.

The same can be said for writing your blog posts – once you know and understand why writing a blog will benefit your business, then you’re more likely to do it. Sometimes that’s all the motivation and accountability you need.

But sometimes a little more coaxing is needed. So, I call on the power of habit to get it done. Having a clear goal to write and publish 1 blog post a day, no excuses, and doing it for several weeks now means that it has now become a habit. Even if it’s a topic that is not particularly thrilling (laser cutters, for example) I no longer think about whether or not I feel like doing it, I’ve just learned to do it automatically, out of habit.

If you have a goal to write 2 posts a week, and you schedule it into your diary on a particular day at a specific time, you’re more likely to achieve it. Planning to do it ‘as and when you have time’ is likely to result in you finding something more pressing to do. Which means the blog post doesn’t get written.

Another way to hold yourself accountable is to set a goal then make a financial commitment if you fail to meet it, (a risky strategy if you’re prone to default on your promises). Or, promise yourself a treat if you do achieve it.

If this fails, there is another way.

Outer accountability

It can be a struggle to stay motivated and get those blogposts written if you’re only doing it for you and your business. When no-one else knows or cares about it then it’s easy to find excuses not to do it.

That is where external accountability can be your friend. Having to answer to someone if you don’t do it can keep you focused. You don’t want to be seen to be flaky and not do what you said you’d do, so it powers up the pressure. Telling others what you intend to do, asking them to check in on you regularly – will keep you moving forward.

Setting a company challenge to publish 2 blog posts a week means that you will be disappointing your readers if you don’t deliver.

Who else will notice if you fail to do it? If no one then tell people! Facebook is good for this. Telling your friends/customers on Facebook that you’re going to be publishing 2 blog posts a week means that you’re more likely to do it as there’s always going to be someone who annoyingly mentions it if you don’t deliver.

Use accountability to get it done

If no one else is going to write the blog posts for you, but you’re not all that keen on doing it yourself (but know that it’s the best thing for your business) then you need to get some accountability. So, whether you find ways to be internally accountable or you ask friends/colleagues/customers to hold you accountable, do whatever it takes and create that support system. Doing so means you’ll keep on getting those blog posts written, and your business will benefit.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

How to write a great copywriter brief

“Just write me something for my landing page,” he says.

Hmm ok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. A freelancer’s work is only as good as the brief she’s been given, so the instruction to ‘write something…’ is likely to result in a piece of work that is vague at best, and total pants at worst.

Back when I was starting out as a copywriter, I had copywriting jobs that dragged on for months, at a cost to the client, simply because he didn’t take the 10 minutes needed to write a brief.

If you have expectations for the piece of writing that you’re commissioning, then a clear brief is going to get you closer to meeting those expectations than some nebulous instruction – the copywriter cannot read your mind, no matter how experienced she is.

It’s essential to explain the objectives for the job, the requirements, the audience, at the VERY LEAST. Otherwise you’ll be disappointed, and the copywriter will tell everyone they meet just how difficult you are (just kidding, but they won’t think too highly of you).

If the copywriter knows exactly what she’s doing because you’ve given her a comprehensive brief, then you’ll both come out of the experience getting what you want.

Over the years that I’ve been working as a freelance copywriter, I’ve learned many lessons. Not least is that, if I get a transparent brief, then the job goes much more smoothly and the customer is much happier with the outcome.

So, cover the following topics in your briefing form, and you can’t go far wrong. At the very least it serves as a useful prompt to ensure all the main things are covered.

The copywriting brief – what to include

First things first, what do you need? Is it a blog post, a corporate brochure, website copy, e-newsletter, sales literature, letter, form, press release, white paper, article or something else?

What is its purpose? Do you want to generate leads, inform your clients or something else – if you can offer as much information as possible as the what you want to achieve, your copywriter can write to that instruction and will thank you for it.

Who is your target market? B2B or B2C? What are their particular characteristics? Giving info about the target’s position in the company, the demographic or any other relevant information helps give the copywriter a better idea of who the copy is aimed at and how it should be written.

What, (and why) is the most important benefit that will appeal to your target market? Summarise the main benefit of your product or service to your target market. Don’t forget to include why they should believe you.

What kind of Response are you looking for? Is there an immediate action required: to email, telephone or respond in some other way?

The tone of voice is important. It has to reflect your business. If your usual style of blog post (or whatever it is) is serious and formal, then you don’t want to publish something that is peppered with humour as it won’t necessarily sit well with your audience. So make sure your copywriter knows what type of language they should use: be it casual, formal, authoritative, friendly, humorous, serious.

It helps enormously to give your copywriter existing material, and style guidelines too if you have them. Indicate key phrases/terms relevant to the business. For websites, provide any information you have on keywords.

How this job relates to your broader business strategy? Is there anything else you have done, or are planning to do, that is relevant, such as advertising, exhibitions, posters or brochures?

Does the copywriter know your business? Have they worked with you before? If not supply as much information as possible so that she gets a good idea of your brand and how you operate.

Do you have draft content you can share, or perhaps you have some back-of-a-fag-packet ideas? Share these too.

You’re nearly done – explain when you need the copy. If necessary, agree a schedule to show stages and dates for each stage.

That’s it! Not too scary?

Ultimately, the more precise you are about your requirements, the more accurately the copywriter’s work will align to your expectations, and most importantly, the more accurate the copywriter can be about the fee.

You might be thinking that by the time you’ve written the brief, you may as well have done the work yourself. But then, if that were the case, you’d be the copywriter. And the reasons why you should use a copywriter rather than do it yourself is the topic for another blog.

Remember, the copywriter’s work is only as good as the brief you’ve given them so make it a good one.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

Why you should value your copywriter

One of my side jobs is as a furniture painter. I can make a tatty old piece of solid furniture look lovely and new. I can stand back and find joy in this creative sideline. It is something I feel I do very well, judging by the reaction of my clients who buy my furniture.

They love the pristine finish of a piece of furniture which, at its heart, has seen the comings and goings of many households in its lifetime.

But it’s not a matter of slapping a coat of paint on it and calling it ‘done’. What the clients don’t see is the lengthy process that got that shabby piece of furniture to such a new-loved and admired piece; the hours I spend fixing, sanding, priming and undercoating and then the final three coats of paint to turn trash with potential, into treasure. But it only looks that good because of the time and effort that went into the layers beneath.

There is a similar process for copywriting – many hours of work go into one finely tuned sentence. A sentence that is the result of years of practice, experience and learning – that’s what you pay for.

When you buy copywriting, you’re not just buying the words you see; you are investing in the value of a copywriter’s experience and effort that put those words into the best arrangement they can possibly be.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Yes, a copywriter can imitate you

A good copywriter doesn’t need to be you. They don’t need to have been working at your business or in your industry for years in order to sound like you in the blog posts. A good copywriter does her research.